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Manekineko

Fukushima plants after the quake

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The Reg are very much pro-tech and pro-nuclear, so you may take this article with a grain of salt, but it's a refreshingly reassuring view of Fukushima risks.

You'd rather need a sack of salt ...

That sack can be obtained from the truck of salt needed for the mainstream media. :-/

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MUST READ: "Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation"

A very long but layman-termed explanation of what has possibly occured at the Nuclear Plant, its ramifications, followed by some relevant discussions.

http://theenergycollective.com/barrybrook/...ate-explanation

Edited by Treblemaker

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MUST READ: "Fukushima Nuclear Accident

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I prefer to have as much info as possible regarding the situation, and as fear-free as possible.

And you have every right for your "fear-free" information, but there might be others who are rather looking for information as truthful as possible and could be skeptical if a blog headlined with a "Nuclear Power - Yes Please"-badge is the place to look for it. In any case I don't understand why those links have to be posted in the "Ozumo Discussions"-thread.

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I think you'll find that the information in several of the links in my post are factual and "truthful", and attempt to be as neutral and open to new info as possible. Terms like for the time being, still at risk, not currently known, This does not mean that future events might not change this do not come across as biased. You may petition Manekineko to split the threat if you feel her foray into the Fukushima issue is not appropriate here.

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I guessed my post would spark some debate so I almost didn't post... My bad for not posting it as a new thread to start with.

What I'm interested in are reports without CATASTROPHE! BIBLICAL FLOOD! HORROR! WOE! attached to them. The situation is bad enough without projecting the worst (possible?) outcomes all the time. This video was terrifying enough to watch even though commentators sound very factual:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011...e-tsunami-video

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Guess u're all right... No basho under given circumstances... Now moving to may... Assuming that it stops here... No further nuclear break downs... Thinking away any yachoo tingys... Any basho in Tokyo in may? ...guess not...

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Double-posted to both ST and SF:

Having listened to everything NHK, BBC, CNN, CTV and other sources have to say, the scenario is this:

1. IF the reactors are not cooled down (all 4 of the problem ones including the spent rods, leaky containment units, melted cores and all) by the mismanagement of TEPCO

AND

2. Resulting radioactive material from all 4 reactors ends up getting into the air (and water) with the wind blowing in the wrong direction

caused by

3. World's worst earthquake in years

AND

4. 7.3 metre-high tsunami moving @ approx 300 Km/Hr, causing half a million homeless - maybe permanently - and tens if not hundreds of thousands dead

EQUALS

5. A vast area in north-east Honshu that will be uninhabitable for years and years to come - maybe permanently.

Now, I'd be VERY happy for someone to completely disagree with me and offer their thoughts to the contrary. Even without the nuclear problems, the job of resettling the distressed area would take years. This may not be the boom of Chernobyl, but the ultimate result might be the same if the current situation at the nuclear plant isn't solved fast.

So, by all means, contradict and correct what I've written... Give me a reason to be optimistic about this. But from all that I've seen and heard, it sounds more and more like the scenario above.

Comments?

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Being in Tohoku right now, I can assure you the foreign community (especially those not very skilled in Japanese) is freaking out. Their natural instinct is to turn to their trusted news outlets for information. There is a slight problem in that the foreign press is over-playing the problems at the reactors a little bit. The following quote comes from a friend who just finished a conference call with the British embassy:

"In case of a 'reasonable worst case scenario' (defined as total

meltdown of one reactor with subsequent radioactive explosion) an

exclusion zone of 30 miles (50km) would be the maximum required to avoid

affecting peoples' health. Even in a worse situation (loss of two or

more reactors) it is unlikely that the damage would be significantly

more than that caused by the loss of a single reactor.

*

The current 20km exclusion zone is appropriate for the levels of

radiation/risk currently experienced, and if the pouring of sea water

can be maintained to cool the reactors, the likelihood of a major

incident should be avoided. A further large quake with tsunami could

lead to the suspension of the current cooling operations, leading to the above scenario.

* The bottom line is that these experts

do not see there being a possibility of a health problem for residents

in Tokyo. The radiation levels would need to be hundreds of times higher than current to cause the possibility for health issues, and that, in their opinion, is not going to happen (they were talking minimum levels affecting pregnant women and children - for normal adults the levels would need to be much higher still).

* The experts do not consider the wind direction to be material. They say Tokyo is too far away to be materially affected.

*

If the pouring of water can be maintained the situation should be much

improved after ten days, as the reactors' cores cool down.

*

Information being provided by Japanese authorities is being

independently monitored by a number of organizations and is deemed to be accurate, as far as measures of radioactivity levels are concerned.

*

This is a very different situation from Chernobyl, where the reactor

went into meltdown and the encasement, which exploded, was left to burn for weeks without any control. Even with Chernobyl, an exclusion zone of 30 miles would have been adequate to protect human health. The problem was that most people became sick from eating contaminated food, crops, milk and water in the region for years afterward, as no attempt was made to measure radioactivity levels in the food supply at that time or warn people of the dangers. The secrecy over the Chernobyl explosion is in contrast to the very public coverage of the Fukushima crisis.

*

The Head of the British School asked if the school should remain

closed. The answer was there is no need to close the school due to fears

of radiation. There may well be other reasons - structural damage or

possible new quakes - but the radiation fear is not supported by

scientific measures, even for children.

* Regarding Iodine

supplementation, the experts said this was only necessary for those who had inhaled quantities of radiation (those in the exclusion zone or workers on the site) or through consumption of contaminated food/water supplies. Long term consumption of iodine is, in any case, not healthy."

As far I I know as of 6pm yesterday technicians and TEPCO were back working in the Fukushima plants trying to cool the reactors.

In a round about way I'll get back to sumo here. Logistically the only obstruction I can see to holding the May Basho would be possible food shortages, and energy rationing. However, those may not be problems by the time May rolls around. However, whether or not it socially responsible to hold the basho is another matter, and luckily one I do not have to decide.

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@ Keishikazawa,

I understand what you're saying about the foreign media being paranoid and perhaps over-playing the situation, but a call to the British Embassy is one thing. A call to TEPCO or a Prefecture representative is something quite different. The Embassy is certainly going to tell people what they really want to hear. Not being judgmental, but I'm skeptical. To take the British Embassy's word for anything is not like going to the source for information.

What I keep hearing from the representatives of TEPCO are phrases such as "we think.." "we're not sure..." "we assume.." "we're confident that..." "it seems that..." "we expect that..." Why don't they know for sure what's going on? Where is all the expert help the world is willing to provide?

Now, it might be the translator's issue in converting Japanese phrases into English, but just it's obvious that whoever is running the plant is still searching for answers, and NOT knowing IF the rods are melted, how much water remains in the holding tanks, if there's a leak in the water pool below the reactors, etc translates into people still looking for answers. At this stage, there should be help from countries all over the world at that site making every effort to put out the fires.

BTW, dropping water from helicopters is such a fail move. watching videos of it proved as much - water disperses way before it hits the building intended. Why weren't there fire trucks and water cannons there days ago?

Anyway, as someone half a globe away with no vested interest other than concern for the well-being of people there where you are, I'm doubtful of the current management's ability to succeed in solving this problem on their own.

I'm not worried about me. I'm worried about you (singular and plural).

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I'm being skeptical too. I'm not making any assumptions or claims, other than the fact that the foreign media is taking a more alarmist approach than they perhaps should. We also must keep in mind that as far as we have heard there has not been one single death or injury from radiation.

Personally I would be willing to take the word of public officials and TEPCO representatives over someone posting on a sumo forum who claims that dropping water on the reactors is a "fail move". I'm sure that TEPCO and the Fukushima Daiichi crews could have thought of fire trucks and water cannons, and that if it was a viable option, it would have been executed.

as for more information:

the levels of radiation are being constantly monitored here http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/incidents/index.html

here is what one foreign expert has to say: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/15/g...tion/index.html

Not only in emergencies like this, but in pretty much every situation imaginable, people refrain from using absolutes when on TV or in press conferences. That's not just this time out.

Being overly alarmist is never good. Just saying.

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At the risk of oversimplifying and sounding like a right git, I have learned one thing living in a place where you really don't know what's going to happen the next minute on a daily basis: When everyone is talking about "it", "it" NEVER happens. "It" always comes out of the blue. Consequently, I think we've seen the worst.

I hope my deep philosophy rooted in ancient beliefs will be proven correct. I don't want to even think otherwise.

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Not only in emergencies like this, but in pretty much every situation imaginable, people refrain from using absolutes when on TV or in press conferences. That's not just this time out.

The most painful thing for me as somebody who's not in any personal danger has been the steady cycle of the (Western) press clamouring for 100% exact up-to-the-minute updates, and when that doesn't materialize (because, duh, it's a disaster zone) or even forces TEPCO and the government folks to release clearly unverified information just to get them off their backs, it's invariably followed by the press switching to indignant whining about how the information ends up contradictory in parts or simply prone to rapid changing. Maybe somebody should tell all those judgmentally-challenged reporters that disasters don't run on a schedule.

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Being overly alarmist is never good. Just saying.

That depends of what actually is going to happen. As long as nobody knows how this tragedy ends, personally (especially if I were in the "danger zone") I would rather be overly alarmist than overly calm, because in the first case the worst thing that can happen is that you realize with relief there was no reason to be that fearful while in the latter case the consequences could be terrible...

The most painful thing for me as somebody who's not in any personal danger has been the steady cycle of the (Western) press clamouring for 100% exact up-to-the-minute updates, and when that doesn't materialize (because, duh, it's a disaster zone) or even forces TEPCO and the government folks to release clearly unverified information just to get them off their backs, it's invariably followed by the press switching to indignant whining about how the information ends up contradictory in parts or simply prone to rapid changing.

Well, I think you have to see both sides. While the news coverage of most of the media (is it just "Western media" btw?) clearly is sentionalistic, I guess it is impossible to judge about the information policy of TEPCO and the Japanese government. Are they really forced to release unverified information by the media or are they rather following a strategy of their own, using the media to release just those information they want to (possibly even misleading and contradictory information)?

IMHO the media and all those pictures we had from the explosions, fire and smoke is the reason that we are getting any official information at all, so there might be a good side about that "media pressure" also...

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Being overly alarmist is never good. Just saying.

That depends of what actually is going to happen. As long as nobody knows how this tragedy ends, personally (especially if I were in the "danger zone") I would rather be overly alarmist than overly calm, because in the first case the worst thing that can happen is that you realize with relief there was no reason to be that fearful while in the latter case the consequences could be terrible...

The most painful thing for me as somebody who's not in any personal danger has been the steady cycle of the (Western) press clamouring for 100% exact up-to-the-minute updates, and when that doesn't materialize (because, duh, it's a disaster zone) or even forces TEPCO and the government folks to release clearly unverified information just to get them off their backs, it's invariably followed by the press switching to indignant whining about how the information ends up contradictory in parts or simply prone to rapid changing.

Well, I think you have to see both sides. While the news coverage of most of the media (is it just "Western media" btw?) clearly is sentionalistic, I guess it is impossible to judge about the information policy of TEPCO and the Japanese government. Are they really forced to release unverified information by the media or are they rather following a strategy of their own, using the media to release just those information they want to (possibly even misleading and contradictory information)?

IMHO the media and all those pictures we had from the explosions, fire and smoke is the reason that we are getting any official information at all, so there might be a good side about that "media pressure" also...

Thank you. My point exactly, and the reason I'm worried.

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That depends of what actually is going to happen. As long as nobody knows how this tragedy ends, personally (especially if I were in the "danger zone") I would rather be overly alarmist than overly calm, because in the first case the worst thing that can happen is that you realize with relief there was no reason to be that fearful while in the latter case the consequences could be terrible...

Too many people being overly alarmist = mass panic. I've been pretty annoyed this week by a number of "talk show tourists", namely Westerners who got out of Japan at the very first sign of trouble (i.e. Monday or even the weekend) and are now taking the opportunity to voice their bewilderment that the millions of Japanese in the Tokyo metroplex weren't doing the same thing. Shockingly, not everybody has the discretionary income to afford plane tickets to Europe for their entire family on short notice and little enough attachment to their homes that they're ready to just drop everything. (Holiday feeling...) And the prevailing attitude inside the media plays right into that mindset.

(Edit: To clarify, I'm not judging these people for getting the hell out of Dodge as soon as they could; everybody's entitled to their own risk/reward calculation. I'm judging them for their unquestioned assumption that that's the only sensible way to react, and that everybody who doesn't react that way must somehow be uninformed or irrational.)

Well, I think you have to see both sides. While the news coverage of most of the media (is it just "Western media" btw?) clearly is sentionalistic, I guess it is impossible to judge about the information policy of TEPCO and the Japanese government.

Which hasn't stopped a single journalist from judging them at all turns. On the other hand, I've seen practically no introspection whatsoever by the press about their own role. Not that that's any different under non-disaster circumstances. The sheer pressure of having to beat your competition to the newest news, and even if it's just by five minutes, pretty much forces the behaviour that I find so irritating.

Are they really forced to release unverified information by the media or are they rather following a strategy of their own, using the media to release just those information they want to (possibly even misleading and contradictory information)?

Well, do you think there's any objective point to that Edano guy trying to answer pretty much the same questions over and over? At some point the only sensible answer would be, "Would you please shut the hell up for 12 hours and let the engineers do their jobs until there's an actual new development to report?" Clearly that's not going to happen though. Instead, every temporary radiation spike around the power plant compounds results in breathless reporting about how the situation must be worse than ever.

And it works as an inadvertant news suppressor, too. Did you hear anything about their power line reconstruction efforts until earlier today? I sure didn't, even though it's obvious they must have worked on it for quite a while already. The reason is pretty obvious IMHO: Not saying anything is better than raising the possibility of a positive development early only to get trashed five times worse when it fails to work out. Too many people (and this goes both for the media and the public) simply seem incapable of appreciating that difficult problems usually don't have easily applied solutions. Sometimes people seem to be operating under the delusion that getting accurate information about a damaged and overheating reactor core shouldn't be any more difficult than calling up a NukeStatus app on your iPhone. (In a nutshell, the "What are cows? We get our milk from the supermarket" attitude writ large.)

Edited by Asashosakari

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Asasho-sama,

with all respect...the guys who just left are at least in shock.

ain't leaving the most intelligent perspective for those who have the chance to do so? I don't know more than anybody else, but heck - how long would ya wait? Bart did the right thing. Fu.... the Kyoukai's rule to stay - cause it is simply SILLY. Everybody has to make that decision himself. IMHO.

I even officially invited several Japanese people to Germany already - if it helps to get em outa there...

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I think it can be summed as "Catastrophes sell-people buy". "Everything is looking much better" sells not. "Apocalyptic catastrophe" sells well. Cynical, but real newspaper sales typically soar around the globe with this type of news. Keeping this up as long as possible is one of an editor's main goals.

We were promised a huge blast "within hours" about 24 hours ago. Well?

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I think it can be summed as "Catastrophes sell-people buy". "Everything is looking much better" sells not. "Apocalyptic catastrophe" sells well. Cynical, but real newspaper sales typically soar around the globe with this type of news. Keeping this up as long as possible is one of an editor's main goals.

We were promised a huge blast "within hours" about 24 hours ago. Well?

German TV said "FRIDAY", now updated to "SATURDAY".

Let's have a NEVER please.

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I think it can be summed as "Catastrophes sell-people buy". "Everything is looking much better" sells not. "Apocalyptic catastrophe" sells well. Cynical, but real newspaper sales typically soar around the globe with this type of news. Keeping this up as long as possible is one of an editor's main goals.

I share your feeling that the longer no (bigger) catastrophe happens, the more likely it is that we are lucky. Still I have yet to hear Edano or a TEPCO official telling us "Everything looks better, the danger is gone." If that happens, the media will report about it be sure, especially (and hopefully only) if it is actually the truth.

In any case I would simply wait what happens before condemn the media as long as there is any risk left that all the bad things they predicted (and most of us feared seeing those explosions and fires) will actually take place.

Too many people being overly alarmist = mass panic. I've been pretty annoyed this week by a number of "talk show tourists", namely Westerners who got out of Japan at the very first sign of trouble (i.e. Monday or even the weekend) and are now taking the opportunity to voice their bewilderment that the millions of Japanese in the Tokyo metroplex weren't doing the same thing.

Well I have yet to see a (real) mass panic take place and I rather have sold-our supermarkets, overbooked flights and traffic jams for nothing than thousands of people contaminated because they were too calm or told to be calm. And I think you are mixing the "talk show media" with the serious media that are telling us since days that it is impossible to evacuate all Tokyo. With "immediate danger zone" I meant the area within a radius of say 80 km of the plant and I definitely think that those people should leave/be evacuated just to be on the safe side.

Well, I think you have to see both sides. While the news coverage of most of the media (is it just "Western media" btw?) clearly is sentionalistic, I guess it is impossible to judge about the information policy of TEPCO and the Japanese government.

Which hasn't stopped a single journalist from judging them at all turns. On the other hand, I've seen practically no introspection whatsoever by the press about their own role. Not that that's any different under non-disaster circumstances. The sheer pressure of having to beat your competition to the newest news, and even if it's just by five minutes, pretty much forces the behaviour that I find so irritating.

Yes, because it is the job of modern media to judge if the information that are provided by officials are true and sufficient. I don't want to have a journalist simply accepting everything the public is told by the government or business people. And while I share your dislike of sensationalistic and "competitive" media behaviour, I don't expect the media to reflect upon their own news coverage (otherwise us media historians would have nothing to do...).

Well, do you think there's any objective point to that Edano guy trying to answer pretty much the same questions over and over? At some point the only sensible answer would be, "Would you please shut the hell up for 12 hours and let the engineers do their jobs until there's an actual new development to report?"

Ah common, the public demands for information and it is Edano's job to provide them (it would be something different if the media were actually hinder the work of the technicians by asking them questions but that doesn't happen of course). I rather have the media ask the same questions way too often and make sure by that, that all important new information are given as soon as they are available than leaving the decision which information to make public at what time entirely to the government and especially to TEPCO...

And it works as an inadvertant news suppressor, too. Did you hear anything about their power line reconstruction efforts until earlier today? I sure didn't, even though it's obvious they must have worked on it for quite a while already. The reason is pretty obvious IMHO: Not saying anything is better than raising the possibility of a positive development early only to get trashed five times worse when it fails to work out. Too many people (and this goes both for the media and the public) simply seem incapable of appreciating that difficult problems usually don't have easily applied solutions. Sometimes people seem to be operating under the delusion that getting accurate information about a damaged and overheating reactor core shouldn't be any more difficult than calling up a NukeStatus app on your iPhone. (In a nutshell, the "What are cows? We get our milk from the supermarket" attitude writ large.)

Well as reported yesterday in the early afternoon MEZ by Reuters, TEPCO declared that the new power line is nearly finished (and of course by now it looks as if it won't be finished by tomorrow, e.g. at least 40 hours after the announcement, so I'm not sure if they actually didn't raise any false hopes here). Still as I said: I'm fairly sure TEPCO and the government do have an information policy of their own and all in all I'm quite happy about having the media as a critical counterpart despite all their alarmist sensationalism. After all we are talking about something potentially very serious here.

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